Samuel Adams may be the biggest "craft" beer company around, and maybe some beer snobs see them as somehow less than "craft" brewers, but with mix packs like this one, I disagree. If it's good beer, enjoy it. And I was excited to try this "IPA Hop-ology" mix pack. Here's the lowdown. Keep in mind that my scores range from 1 (awful) to 5 (awesome).
SAMUEL ADAMS - GRUMPY MONK - 4.0
Grumpy Monk is a Belgian IPA, so alongside the hops there's Belgian yeasts and candi sugar, yielding a fruity, spiced character as well. Pours a clean amber, with a thick head of off-white bubbles. Thick and beautiful lace. A on presentation! Nose is spices, and Belgian yeast, and fruit. Good and faithful representation. Taste is heavy on the spice, perfectly in line with the Belgian abbey tradition, but with a heavily hopped finish.
Overall, a well-done and enjoyable collision of styles. I'll enjoy this one again.
SAMUEL ADAMS - DARK DEPTHS BALTIC IPA - 3.5
This "Baltic IPA" utilizes dark malts alongside the hops. The impression I get is, well, read on...Pours, as expected, a deep dark ruby, with a rich head of off-white suds. Lace is exquisite and beautiful! Nose is malty. I get some fruit tones, and caramel malts. Kinda "meh" here. Taste is rich and malty, with plenty of the toffee/caramel maltiness, as well some fruit notes underneath. Body is light, but flavor is rich and full. I get a tinge of hops at the finish, but calling this one an "IPA" seems a wee bit off to me.
Overall, not bad, but not one I'd pursue again, either.
SAMUEL ADAMS - TASMAN RED - 4.5
Ahh, I've grown very fond of Australian (and New Zealand) hops. This one's a definite winner. Pours a beautiful ruby-amber with a thick foam of tan bubbles. Gorgeous lace, so an A+ on presentation. Nose is hoppy but earthy, too. I get some orange tones. Superlative. Flavor is nicely hopped, but well-balanced by a fair malt profile. A little tart, a little sweet, and a strong earthy character. I'm reminded of dirt, leaves, and the like. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Very delicious and I'd definitely buy a 6 pack of these if made available more widely!
SAMUEL ADAMS - THIRD VOYAGE DOUBLE IPA - 3.25
Third Voyage is simply a heavier-duty double IPA, in the popular West Coast style.
Rich amber, with a huge head of off-white suds. Thick walls of lace. Nice! Nose is crisp citrus hops all the way. Not bad, but not remarkable, either. Taste is strong -- with plenty of acid and bitter notes. I get more citrus and pine tones, but there's also a thick malt backbone, balancing this big beer out somewhat, though it's still heavy on the palate. Alcohol bite is evident at finish, as well.
Solid IPA here, but not one I'd return to.
Really, though not everything here was to my taste, this mix 12-pack (which also includes 2 bottle each of Latitude 48 IPA and Whitewater IPA) is well worth the $13.99 list price.